An increase in the influx of refugees coming to Canada has prompted a decision by the federal government to add $283 million in funding for their health care over the next two years.
The number of Canadian refugee claimants nearly doubled a few years ago. 28,000 refugees sought asylum in Canada in 2016, but that number jumped to 50,000 in 2017 and 55,000 in 2018. And although previous cuts to refugee health care program have since been reversed, asylum claimants may still struggle to get their health care needs met, sometimes waiting up to two years for their claims to be heard, during which time they only have access to interim federal health care.
This delay can be a barrier to receiving proper treatment, since some health care providers are unaware that their health care is valid or are unwilling to go through the red tape needed to be reimbursed for their services.